Sukhmani Sandhu has mentored Bold Idea students as young as 6 and as old at 14. The UT Dallas senior discovered coding in college and is passionate about encouraging young students to give it a try.
What is something many people don't know about you?
I love to draw and paint. Many people are surprised that I am interested in math and science as well as more artistic subjects. I believe that it is important for the students to know that art and math (or science) are not mutually exclusive, but actually interact in very interesting ways.
How did you become interested in tech and programming?
I was always interested in building things and taking things apart. I would always ask for Legos and other building toys for my birthdays. I joined the robotics club in middle school and was able to learn more about technology and engineering. As I got older, I was able to combine this with my interest in medicine, through biomedical engineering.
What are you studying in college?
I am a senior (woot woot!) at UT Dallas, studying Biomedical Engineering.
What have you gained from being a mentor? What was your most memorable moment while mentoring?
While mentoring, I have realized that I really enjoy teaching. I am now open to career paths that I had previously not considered.
My most memorable moment while mentoring happened a few semesters ago, when a student came in on the first day, acting as if she was quite uninterested in coding. The other mentors and I had to persuade her to participate in first activity of the session. But at the end of the day this same student seemed genuinely sad that the session was over and was eager to continue her project. Being a part of this development on the very first day, and throughout the rest of the semester, was incredibly fulfilling and memorable.
Is there anything that you wish you could tell your younger self about coding?
I wasn't exposed to coding until I started college. Based on how much I loved it as soon as I started, I would tell my younger self to try it out, even if none of my friends are doing it.
What is it about Bold Idea's mission that really connects with you?
All students should have access to resources and skills that help them develop the ideas and create the projects that they are interested in. They should not have to limit their creativity because of a lack of knowledge of their own potential. Through the programs at Bold Idea, more students are exposed to new technical and professional skills that will help them in future endeavors.